Former Persimmon CEO, Jeff Fairburn, has re-entered the house building limelight in the past few weeks.
You may recall Fairburn departed Persimmon in 2018 after his nine figure bonus payout caused outrage after critics linked his personal financial success with the government-supported help to buy scheme. Persimmon stuck with him for a while despite the negative PR but a very awkward interview between Fairburn and the BBC seemed to be the final straw as Persimmon sought to limit reputational damage and parted ways with him shortly afterwards.
He resurfaced in January 2020 as CEO of Berkeley Deveer, a small Yorkshire based house builder who completed around 100 homes a year.
This appeared to be a relatively low profile appointment by industry standards. However, all that changed when Berkeley DeVeer, aided by a US private equity business, bought Avant Homes: a house builder with regions across the midlands and north of England and a turnover of about 15 times that of Berkeley DeVeer.
Interestingly Colin Lewis, the outgoing CEO of Avant, turned down the opportunity to be Fairburns’ deputy simply stating “I have my own reasons”.
Only time will tell how the new incarnation of Avant performs and how Fairburn’s reputation is perceived by industry commentators.